An innovative new early intervention programme which will help local families in West Belfast affected by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has recently been launched. The Changing Lives Initiative is a new cross border project to support families with children at risk of ADHD.
The initiative is being supported by an award of €2.7m by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, a programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and will be focused on West Belfast, County Louth, and the Argyll & Bute region in Scotland. The programme is set to benefit over 2,000 families in these regions.
Attending the ADHD Changing Lives Launch L-R: Dr Lucia Carragher, Annie Armstrong of Colin Neighbourhood Partnership, Hugh Doogan, Genesis Programme, Christina Riordan Project Manager of Changing Lives, Alice Malone, Genesis Programme, Gina McIntyre CEO of SEUPB, Mairead McGuiness MEP, David Simpson of Colin Neighbourhood Partnership, Aileen O'Donoghue, Archways, Stuart Quinn, DKIT, Gwen Hobbs, Project Psychologist.
As many as 5 to 6% of school aged children are affected by ADHD. The Changing Lives Initiative is a community-based programme. It aims to create a better understanding about ADHD and provide an intervention programme for families with children (3-7) experiencing behaviours consistent with ADHD. As well as working with families the programme will provide training for those working with young children, in particular teachers and early years professionals. The programme will provide internationally recognised good practice models of intervention for children with ADHD.
Locally, the new initiative will be delivered in the Colin area and greater West Belfast. There are five partner organisations involved: Archways (lead partner), Colin Neighbourhood Partnership in West Belfast, Dundalk Institute of Technology, The Genesis Programme (Louth Leader Partnership) and NHS Highland.
Launching the initiative Mairead McGuinness, MEP said: “This is an excellent programme that will transform many lives for the better, forever. It is beyond doubt that early intervention is essential. The initiative will enable children who may have ADHD reach their full potential and it will help their parents and teachers first understand the challenges and then experience the joy and fulfilment of seeing the children develop their innate skills and talents.” She congratulated everyone connected with the new service.
Mairead McGuiness MEP speaking at the launch of the Changing Lives Initiative in Dundalk.
David Simpson, Programme Manager at Colin Neighbourhood Partnership said: “We are delighted to roll out this new programme throughout the Colin area and West Belfast. We have a dedicated Changing Lives team in place who are skilled at supporting families with children at risk of ADHD. They will be holding information sessions, provide screening, and delivering programmes that will support parents and carers of children who are experiencing behaviours consistent with ADHD. It is hoped that this new programme will support parents and carers and deliver positive outcomes for local families.”
Aileen O’Donoghue, CEO of Archways said: “The Changing Lives Initiative was borne out of an identified need. International best practice for treating ADHD recommends parent education and training programmes as the first line of treatment, but this option is not available to many families who are in need of support. This programme will have a profound impact on families with young children who are experiencing behaviours consistent with ADHD, in helping improve their quality of life”
Roll out of the programme has commenced in West Belfast and County Louth, with roll out in Scotland due to commence in Autumn next year. Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department for Health in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health in Ireland and NHS Highland.
Further information on how families can avail of the programme is available at www.changinglivesinitiative.com or by calling Colin Neighbourhood Partnership’s dedicated Changing Lives team at the Dairy Farm Centre in West Belfast on 028 9691 9960.